Greenwich Tall Ships Festival will be a 'superb spectacle'

By Rob Virtue on September 2, 2014 8:30 AM |

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Around 50 tall ships, as well barges, traditional vessels and a host of others will fill the Thames conjuring scenes reminiscent of centuries before.

This weekend's tall ships festival will see the river play host to the golden age of sail again.

Joanna Whittaker, of Sailing Dreams, which represents around 20 of the boats, says it will be a magical atmosphere.

She said: "The Thames is such a beautiful river. It was the right decision to organise this festival here. History of London is so strongly connected to the river.

"It will be busy to say the least. But it will make an absolutely superb spectacle.

"There's nothing as pretty as the sight of the sailing parade. There's a real variety of ships and it will be amazing seeing all the difference in sizes and styles."

The boats will also bring their own history. The tall ships are from all over Europe, each with their own background and story.

Ships Joanna is working with range from the Lady Of Avenel, built in the '90s, and the Gallant, a Dutch sailing ship which first hit the seas in 1916.

Joanna (pictured below) said the people behind the ships make the industry so interesting.

"Everyone involved is passionate about what they're doing," she said.

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"They restore and renovate all the ships, taking its history in their hands and bringing them sometimes up to modern times and sometimes in the classic style."

Visitors to ports in Greenwich, Woolwich and Canary Wharf this week will have a chance to get on board, go for a sail and even try their hand in some of the more practical parts of boating.

"The people working on the ships are all very friendly and it creates for a great atmosphere," she said.

"When people go on board they can have the choice of getting involved or just sitting back and enjoying it. There are opportunities to lend a hand. It's a bit of an adventure."

Click here for your guide on what to see and do at the Tall Ships Festival.